More Than a Day

An Interview with the founder of Friends of the Sabbath

 

The founder and coordinator of the Australian Friends of the Sabbath began an organisation in 1996.  He is also the interim chairman, founder of Bible Sabbath Associates and consultant editor for Faith in Australia magazine.

SIGNS asked him about the Sabbath and Christians.

How far back do seventh-day Sabbath-keeping Christian organisations go?  Ever since the scattering of Godís church (in Acts 8:1) there hasnít been a single, composite organisation. Itís consisted of many related groups.  Some of those groups have died out; some seem spiritually without life; but others are alive and well, doing a work to bring many to salvation.

Apart from the well-known Jewish tradition of seventh-day Sabbath-keepers, who else observes Saturday as the Sabbath?

The number may be quite high, including nine million Seventh-day Adventists, approximately two million True Jesus Church members (mainly Chinese), hundreds of thousands of various Church of God members, plus Messianic Jews. There are others.

You had a relationship with the Worldwide Church of God. Whatís its history?

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Churches of God have roots in the 18th century.

With the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). some individuals and fellowships either never joined and remained outside of that church, or soon withdrew. Of course the Seventh Day Baptists (SDB) always remained a separate entity.

Many of these scattered non-SDA and non-SDB churches formed a new group and incorporated, and eventually adopted the name Church of God (Adventist). Herbert W. Armstrong was a minister of the Church of God (Seventh Day). In 1933 he formed a congregation known as the Radio Church of God (which changed its name to Worldwide Church of God in 1968).

After seven years his credentials as a minister of the Church of God (Seventh Day) were withdrawn. Although he continued to work in cooperation until 1945, after that time, communication between the two groups ceased.

By the time of Armstrong's death, the Worldwide Church of God had some 150,000 members, his Plain Truth magazine had a circulation of over eight million in five languages and his radio and TV programs were on hundreds of stations around the globe.

You recently established a group called "Friends of the Sabbath." What's its history and aims?

It has roots in the Bible Sabbath Association (BSA), a nonsectarian association of seventh-day Sabbath-keepers established in 1945. BSA members include the United Church of God, Global Church of God, Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists, Church of God International, Church of God (Seventh Day) and the Assembly of Yahweh, among others.

The BSA is not a church, nor does it propose ecumenism, or mergers. It's more of a network. It promotes the Sabbath in a positive way.

It publishes a variety of literature including a directory of Sabbath-observing groups, which lists over 350 different Sabbath groups. Friends of the Sabbath (FOS) was formed in 1995 after a schism in the WCG. Friends of the Sabbath was the name given to conferences. The conferences involved various groups and nonaligned individuals.

History Research Projects

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